I don’t know an awful lot about US politics but I am aware of the lobbyists that exist there and in other countries too. Miss Sloane is a feature film, not based on any kind of true story – which is unusual at the moment – about a powerful D.C. political lobbyist who looks to take on one of the largest, most powerful groups in the US, the pro-gun rights folks.
Miss Sloane stars Jessica Chastain (The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty) as the titular Miss Sloane. She is working for a large company who is approached by the pro-gun lobby to get more women voters on their side. She doesn’t like this and, luckily, is offered a new job at a much smaller company with an anti-gun agenda by Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Imitation Game).
Sloane is a bit of a monster when it comes to winning whatever she goes for, at any costs, no matter who she tramples on. So, when she discovers that a member of her new team, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Free State of Jones, Concussion), is the survivor of a High School massacre back in 1998 (though she keeps it quiet), well, let’s say it doesn’t stay that way for long.
Meanwhile, her old employers are very annoyed and so begin to look at ways to take down Sloane and then pressure a Congressman (Lithgow) to be the one to take her down. Despite the fact that he is in favour of what she is trying to achieve (more gun control), he’s blackmailed about his career by her old employers and moves ahead.
Have you ever read The Life of Pi? I have. It’s the only book that, once I’ve got to the end, I wanted to read the whole thing again. However, there was also many, many times when I wanted to stop reading because it just wasn’t grabbing me. I know many people who did put it down and, for me, they miss a magnificent pay-off at the end. Miss Sloane is very much along these lines.
The film is far too long at over two-hours, there isn’t the meat to sustain that and so a lot of what we see is filler. The whole film also hinges on one thing and one thing alone and that is Chastain’s performance. Luckily, she is brilliant and brings the whole film together. The unfortunate thing is that the film needs it. Without her, without a good performance in this role, it would sink without a trace.
The story also heads down areas that are just too obvious and convenient. One of the lobbyists, in fact Mbatha-Raw, is accosted by someone with a gun and that person is then killed by someone else with a gun. As if no-one saw that coming at all. However, stick with Miss Sloane to the end and you do receive an almighty pay-off, something very clever from writer Jonathan Perera (his first and only script).
However, it’s a big ask to stick with it that long, it didn’t grab me at all. This, despite a stellar cast that also includes John Lithgow (Interstellar, Shrek), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, Steve Jobs) and Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2, The Cell). Miss Sloane is ultimately brought down by it just not having a good-enough story, it feels too forced, too clichéd. People about-face at the drop of a hat, completely against character and go against what they believe for unknown reasons.
Besides the ending, there’s good from a male prostitute Sloane is using, Jake Lacy (Carol, How to Be Single), who appears to be the only person in the film with any kind of ethics or morals and the only one who is just out to be a nice guy. However, you don’t know if Sloane is paying him to do that or not.